Dating Tips for Seniors in Retirement

Here’s where to look if you’re looking to meet someone.
May 6, 2024
min read
Share this GUIDE
Key Points
  • When gearing up to date, be clear about what you’re looking for in a partner in this stage of life, like companionship and connection
  • Online dating has made it much easier to meet someone: one-third of older adults who have dated in the last five years have used a dating app
  • If you're going to try dating online, it's important to get smart about "sweetheart scams", where a person uses fake profiles on dating sites to engage victims, stir up romantic feelings, and ask for money
Table of Contents

One of the most important things to have if you're entering the dating world is a positive mindset. It's essential to approach dating with an open heart and mind, free from any preconceived notions or negative experiences from the past.

By maintaining a positive attitude, you can attract like-minded individuals and increase your chances of finding a compatible partner.

Thankfully, meeting someone new has never been easier: with so many dating websites and apps, there’s a world of options at your fingertips. But if you’ve been out of the dating pool for a while, the idea of jumping back in can be daunting. To help, we’re covering the tips you need, including the top four services to meet people and what you should watch out for.

Dating as an Older Adult Has Many Advantages

Dating as an older adult excludes many of the elements that make dating challenging as a younger adult: there’s more self-assuredness and settledness and less pressure to find “the one.” Instead, you’re looking for a companion — someone you enjoy talking to and spending time with. This often allows people to be much more straightforward, honest, and open-minded — even if that wasn’t necessarily their dating style when they were younger.

Define What You’re Looking For

As we age, our wants and needs evolve – and this is true for dating as well. When gearing up to date, it’s important to be clear about what you’re looking for in a partner in this stage of life. Take some quiet time and reflect on what you're looking for in a romantic relationship. Your requirements can run the gamut, but many adults over 60 are looking for companionship and someone to connect with — which is something you may be able to get from a partner you meet online without even needing to physically be together all of the time. Others are looking for someone to travel with, do activities with, and more. If you have children, it’s also important to think about how involved you do or don’t want your partner to be with them.

Defining what you want can provide a clear direction and help you navigate through the dating world with more confidence. Remember, knowing and articulating your needs is not demanding – it's a sign of self-awareness and maturity.

When gearing up to date, it’s important to be clear about what you’re looking for in a partner in this stage of life.

Stay Open to Real-Life Connections

The convenience of online dating sometimes make it appear as the only worthwhile option, but it's important to stay open to possibilities in the real world. Activities in which you have a personal interest - be it a book club, a gardening group, or a dance class - provide a conducive environment to meet potential partners, especially those who share your interests. These social situations can also feel more organic.

Many people meet partners in their living community, at a senior center, or through a mutual hobby or interest. Hank help older adults find activities in their area.

With that said, when done safely, online dating is a great way to connect to people no matter where you are.

Our Top Picks for Dating Websites and Apps

The rise of online dating has largely been a positive development for older adults: It’s increased the pool of potential matches and made it so that you’re no longer confined to just the geographic area you’re in. A 2021 survey found that one-third of older adults who have dated in the last five years have used a dating app. Of those, 66% found a partner using an online dating platform.

For the tech-savvy, this is a great option — just be sure to carefully set your filters to the age range of people you’d be interested in. 

Despite the many positives, one major downside of online dating is the potential to get scammed. We’ll talk about so-called “sweetheart scams” below, but it’s important to be hyper-vigilant when you’re dating online and to never share sensitive information with a stranger.

If you’re looking to try online dating, here's a guide on the top dating apps for seniors.

Separate from dating sites, online communities like Dating Over Fifty on Reddit provide commentary, questions, and stories from those also navigating the dating pool as an older adult, and can be engaging to read and even participate in as you go through the experience.

Beware of “Sweetheart Scams”

A sweetheart scam is when a person uses fake profiles on dating sites to engage victims, stir up romantic feelings, and ask for money. Sweetheart scams may also be referred to as online dating scams, confidence scams, romance scams, or catfishing.

The National Council on Aging has an informative guide on how to spot and avoid sweetheart scams. Asking you to move to another app and speak privately, refusing to chat on video, saying they’re a native English speaker but making many grammatical errors, or love bombing you with excessive flattery are all signs of a potential scammer.

Everyone should read the NCOA’s guide before embarking on online dating. Here are some top tips:

  • Do not send over any sensitive personal information or photos before speaking to someone multiple times on video.
  • FaceTiming someone is a good way to verify that they match their photos.
  • When you match with someone, type their full name into Google with “scam” to see if anything comes up, and to get a read on their background.
  • Never send someone money before you’ve gotten to know them well — and even then, use caution.
  • And if someone or something feels even remotely fishy to you, show their profile and correspondence to someone you trust to get their thoughts.
What To Do Next
The Bottom Line

Socialization is a huge part of aging well, and finding love in this stage of life can provide healthy companionship, meaning, and connection. Excitingly, online dating has made it easier to connect with new people — and as long as you do it safely and watch for sweetheart scams, it can be an excellent way to find a companion as an older adult. Mainstream services like eHarmony and Bumble allow you to connect with people you would have never met otherwise.

But don’t rule out meeting someone “in real life”: Tons of older adults meet partners through their community, shared interests, religious groups, and more. With more self-assuredness and less pressure around starting a family, many find dating in older adulthood to be a new and exciting experience.

About The Author